Caitlin, Ryder and I have been attending a class called “AquaBabies” recently at a nearby gym/holistic-life-improvement establishment. With a cryptic class name like that, you’re probably scratching your head, wondering: what could the class possibly be about? Well, gentle reader, simply break the class name into its two component parts, and you’ll immediately notice that it turns into “Aqua” (Water) and “Babies” (Babies). It’s sort of a swimming class for babies, although calling it a swimming class would be putting it too strongly. A more accurate name would be: “Help Your Baby Develop a Mild Comfort Level in the Water.” But that was obviously not the catchiest of names. In the class, parents are instructed to (and happily comply) hold their child in the water with them.
The warm up consists of bouncing up and down in the water, spinning around. The warm up portion blends seamlessly into the rest of the class, as subsequent activities offer little in the way of increasing complexity or difficulty. On our first visit to class, I was the only one in the water. Ryder was the only child crying among a class of 15 babies happily playing. All the other babies were enjoying the tepid water, while Ryder was wailing miserably and trying to scratch his way to freedom over and through dad’s shoulder. One of the teachers in the class came over to assure me that some babies have started out poorly (like Ryder) but they almost always get into it by the end of the program. I remained skeptical. The second class began in the same unhappy way, and when I noticed an elaborate schematic tattoo of the swim facilities covering Ryder’s body, I knew we’d been letting him watch way too much Prison Break.
It should also be pointed out that it wasn’t until the fourth class, our most recent, that Caitlin identified that the teachers in the class were identical twins. Until that point, she’d be under the (unspoken) delusion that there was a single, extremely available teacher. Successfully identifying identical twins is apparently not among her considerable talents.
After a few sessions, however, with the whole family successfully submerged in the water, Ryder began to enjoy himself in the new environment. This Saturday, he dominated on the “scoops” portion of the class, which involves placing a barbell-shaped flotation device under his arms and taunting him ever-onward with various attractive floating toys. The tactic worked liked a charm, as he pulled out all the stops and scooped like wet daschund paddling for safety. After a great session, we wrapped up as always with an admittedly underwhelming rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus.” Next week, we’ll all be back to sort of not learn to swim. Round and round. Round and round.